Field of Science

Fall color - Winterberry

Winterberry is a great landscape shrub for fall and winter color.  It's almost native to the upper midwest, but not quite, but it has no trouble growing here at all. It's actually a holly, a deciduous holly, Ilex verticillata. In particular the dwarf variety is a nicely compact, relatively slow growing shrub, rather unobtrusive until fall and then zowie! The bright red berries just light up the area, and eventually they will become bird fodder. They look particularly good in front of evergreens or other shrubs.  One small thing to note. Hollies are dioecious, so trees either bear fruiting flowers or pollen flowers not both, however you only need one male for every few females. For some reason the males are not as tough nor as hardy as the females and they tend to die a bit more frequently, but they can be pretty easily replaced. As one friend put it, the berries are so lovely they could be artificial. Not sure but TPP thinks that was a complement.

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